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The Naked Truth About Knights, Avengers, And A Human Bowling Ball

September 11, 2012

Good news, fans of law and order: it’s time for more loopy lawsuits!

I do a monthly cartoon for Inside Counsel Magazine, for a feature called Strange Suits. They send me short summaries of four cases, I rough out a sketch for each, they
pick the one they like best.

The latest winner involved two rival companies specializing in dinner theater adventures. Both companies have knight-themed shows: diners eat a medieval meal while watching Camelot-era knights perform various feats of derring-do. But all is not chivalrous: one company is suing the other for copying its plots, costumes, and meals.

Suits of armor immediately sprang to mind, then I thought of all those brave knights who were constantly rescuing fair maidens from fire-breathing dragons. Here’s the final:

cartoon illustration for legal publication Inside Counsel Magazine for their Strange Suits feature case involving rival dinner theater restaurants with medieval knight theme shows, courtroom scene with lawyer yelling at knight in suit of armor, judge in long Brutish-style wig, jury composed of knights, fair maiden, and dragon billowing smoke

One of the other cases involved two companies battling over the trademark “Naked.” Urban Decay sells a line of cosmetics under the brand name Naked. Victoria’s Secret has a line of undergarments called The Nakeds, and recently introduced a cosmetic line, also called The Nakeds. Urban Decay claimed trademark violation, Victoria’s Secret then sued Urban Decay, claiming the word naked was too broad for trademark protection.

I didn’t have to think too hard about this one.

cartoon showing courtroom scene where judge, witness, and jury members are naked and calling for lawyer to take it off, he's reluctantly stripping off his clothes, lawsuit involving cosmetic firm and lingerie manufacturer disputing each other's right to use the word naked in their product line

Rimowa, a German luggage manufacturer, has sued Marvel Studios to prevent the release of a special Blu-ray edition of its hit movie The Avengers.ย The problem: Marvel packaged the collection in a replica of a Rimowa attache briefcase used by a character in the movie. Rimowa claims Marvel never received permission to use its design.

I thought it might be helpful to drag all The Avengers into court, and what judge wouldn’t want to use Thor’sย hammer for a gavel? How that mouse got on the jury, I’ll never know.

cartoon showing courtroom scene with lawyer in superhero cape costume questioning Incredible Hulk about Blu-ray attache case, judge is using Thor's hammer as a gavel, jury members comprised of Marvel superhero comic book characters The Avengers, lawsuit involving copying luxury briefcase design

And then there was the radio show intern who agreed to be a human bowling ball in a stunt at a hockey game. He agreed to sit on a sled and be launched across the ice at some giant bowling pins. Unfortunately, he crashed into the boards and broke his ankle, and is now suing the hockey team for $25,000.

Unusual combination, hockey and bowling– but I gave it my best shot:

cartoon showing courtroom scene with lawyer as hockey player hitting puck with stick, puck ricocheting off bowling ball held by witness, judge as hockey referee blowing his whistle, jury members dressed as giant bowling pins, lawsuit involving stunt at hockey game that resulted in injury

And finally, here’s the original rough sketch for the knights-and-dragon cartoon:rough sketch for cartoon illustration for legal publication Inside Counsel Magazine for their Strange Suits feature case involving rival dinner theater restaurants with medieval knight theme shows, courtroom scene with lawyer yelling at knight in suit of armor, judge in long Brutish-style wig, jury composed of knights, fair maiden, and dragon billowing smoke

What do you think? Do you enjoy a good sword fight with your dinner? Would you have signed on for the gig as a human bowling ball? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2012 7:31 PM

    Too sleepy at the moment to comment more (it’s night, here) but will say I love the dragon! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • September 12, 2012 5:29 PM

      Why are dragons so lovable?? Must be because they’re always happy to help someone make popcorn… : P

      Thanks, Val– I appreciate your heroic comment as you tottered… on the brink… of oblivion… zzzzzzzz : )


  2. September 11, 2012 7:38 PM

    Lawsuits were on my mind as WIRED had an article on just that:

    Nanotech Magnets decided to add a really bitter taste to their products to discourage children from swallowing them, and subsequent lawsuits. I have a comment in there– admittedly, I was sloppy and cited some examples of some seemingly frivolous lawsuits without doing my research. I stand by my recollection of the old lady trying to screw a soda bottle cap off with a pair of pliers backwards, but the hot coffee one apparently didn’t deserve my assessment once the facts were recounted.

    Anyways, I could go on– software patents light up my tech news feeds a lot– but I had some thoughts on the ones you did illustrations for.

    The latest winner involved two rival companies specializing in dinner theater adventures.

    Non-disclosure agreement? Can’t say much obviously, not knowing more details. Sounds entertaining and probably at a location nowhere near me.

    One of the other cases involved two companies battling over the trademark โ€œNaked.โ€

    Naked Juice comes immediately to mind, and they weren’t part of the lawsuit, so I’m sure Victoria’s Secret is in the right.

    Rimowa, a German luggage manufacturer, has sued Marvel Studios to prevent the release of a special Blu-ray edition of its hit movie The Avengers.

    I’m probably missing some details about how product placement in movies works, because, I mean, really, movie collectors will drop serious money on movie props. Why isn’t Rimowa figuring, “Ah, now we’ll sell a nice attache to some comic book collectors who would never bother, otherwise”?

    And then there was the radio show intern who agreed to be a human bowling ball in a stunt at a hockey game.

    Stunt workers are professionals. This intern obviously was not a professional, otherwise: 1. He would have planned the stunt more carefully and avoided injury, 2. He would probably have been well-insured in case of injury and otherwise would assume responsibility about how the stunt failed. That’s just my take on it, however. Radio shows can do some really DUMB promotional gigs, but… no, I just have a hard time feeling sorry for an intern pulling amateur on a job that deserved professional consideration.


    • September 12, 2012 5:45 PM

      Thanks, Jak– are you sure you’re not a lawyer?? : )

      I knew mystery dinner theaters were popular– nothing like a little murder with one’s lasagna. But knight-themed dinner theater was new to me. Must admit, I’ve been served a few steaks where a broadsword would have come in handy… : )

      The Blu-ray packaging case seemed odd. Apparently Rimowa was happy to have the case prominently featured in the movies (carried around by a major character). Hard to believe Marvel didn’t simply ask Rimowa’s permission to also use the case in their packaging. Somebody dropped the hammer, as Thor would say… : )

      Ah! Who can explain the thinking of these young interns?? A chance for fame and glory before a rabid octopi-throwing crowd? Ah, well. He taught us all a lesson: if you want to be a human bowling ball, go to a Halloween party… : )

      Many thanks for stopping by!


  3. September 11, 2012 9:53 PM

    Oh, the horror … to have your briefs exposed in court. That dragon is the real cause for “Runaway Jury.” And that rat on the jury … is he the one leaking the inside info to the press? Great illustrations as always, Mark.


    • September 12, 2012 5:49 PM

      Ah! I was hoping my favorite quipster would be checking in. I can see you’re firing on all witty cylinders today!

      Thanks, Judy– your kind and jolly support means a lot!


  4. September 12, 2012 2:30 AM

    Loved them all; very funny, and showed your remarkable talent for detail… ๐Ÿ™‚

    No, is the answer to both your questions: Do you enjoy a good sword fight with your dinner? Would you have signed on for the gig as a human bowling ball?

    Mind you; if it meant that I could get to see a ‘real’ fire breathing dragon I just may reconsider..! As for the second question: There would be no chance of signing up to be a human bowling ball. It surprises me they didn’t get the schmuck err guy to sign a waiver…! More fool him, really… It would seem he didn’t appreciate that bones are liable to break when fooling about on ice…. Well, as we know, it’s not the fooling about that’s the problem; it’s missing the pins…. What the… It would have to be a poor ‘intern’ now, wouldn’t it…!!! On the other side of the coin though, $25g’s seems little compensation for something that’s going to have him ‘pinned’ for a fool for the rest of his life..! haha… Oh, you have made me laugh today…. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • September 12, 2012 8:04 PM

      “… remarkable talent for detail…” Yes, I like that– it sounds so much better than, “The chucklehead!– he’s always tryna cram in one more joke!” : )

      Yes, the unfortunate young bowling ball will have his ankle pinned by the surgeon, and be interned in a cast for some time– ha! Well said, Madam Punster! Glad you had a good laugh, thanks for returning the favor! : )


  5. September 12, 2012 2:33 AM

    Great work as usual. Sorry I don’t comment here enough!

    Anyway, I think I prefer learning about corporate lawsuits through this medium. Much less boring/depressing!


    • September 12, 2012 5:55 PM

      Ha! Many thanks, Josh, always good to see you, never any pressure. I know you’re busy making Taiwan look beautiful, exotic, and compelling with that amazing camera of yours. : )

      Yes, I agree– cartoons are the only sane medium for studying that fantastical creature known as the corporate lawsuit!! : P


  6. September 12, 2012 9:49 AM

    Mark, the six reasons were spot on for why folks buy. I use each one of them in various combinations at any given time. And I loved your point about the anatomically correct brain. May we all aspire to be as sticklerish as you for details. It’s a tribute to your creativeness and work ethic.

    The maxim of you have to know the rules before you can break them is outstanding. I’m going to have to use that one! So appilcable in any arena of life!!! I just love that!

    I can definitely see where a marketing person would look at your drawing and be able to visualize what exactly it is that makes someone want to buy. And that, my friend, is the age old question that haunts us all ๐Ÿ™‚


    • September 12, 2012 8:19 PM

      Aw thanks, Tracey! Flattery will get you everywhere, as the blarney said to the baloney… : )

      I think I first heard the “you’ve got to know the rules” maxim in connection with grammar. You can’t creatively manipulate form or language unless you know the rules; otherwise you come off as simply ignorant. I think that’s why Victor Borge was such a successful “piano comic.” He could satirize classical music because he could play it with the best of them.

      And that brings me to another age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road? The answer’s obvious: to go shopping!! : P

      Thanks as always for your lovely support! : )


  7. September 12, 2012 9:55 AM

    Okay, so I may be commenting on the same blog post twice since with the doggie wedding last week I fell behind my Mark Armstrong reading ๐Ÿ™‚

    First of all, any town with two medieval dinner theaters is cool! I want to move there!! I adore theme things (I was taken to Vegas when I was five and never got over it) so I would be a mess as a juror in this one.

    But I loved the one with the suit of armor acting like he can’t hear. And the dragon in the box, excellent. You really have the gist of each case so well summarized in each of the drawings. If I were a regular reader of that magazine, I would look forward to seeing your interpretation of what items you thought most telling and relevant in each case!


    • September 14, 2012 12:14 PM

      Well, you don’t attend a doggie wedding every day– it’s enough to send anyone barking up the wrong post. Er, tree. As for falling behind on your Mark Armstrong reading, that’s probably your subconscious looking out for your mental health… : P

      It’s hard to believe there could be more than one knight-themed dinner theater “adventure.” In fact, it’s hard to believe there are any!! Vegas when you were 5, eh? I have this image of you opening for Wayne Newton. Tap dancing, I think… : )

      I’m afraid Inside Counsel readers only get to see the one finished cartoon. My faithful blog readers, however, get to see my takes on all four cases– aren’t they lucky?? : P

      Many thanks, Tracey, for your kind comment and good-humored support!


  8. September 12, 2012 12:21 PM

    I really enjoy your take on these court cases. Some are stranger than fiction could ever be. I liked all of your cartoons and especially liked the Deaf Knight dragon and Thor’s hammer.

    The fighting over the word “naked” made my eyes roll. No, I wouldn’t enjoy a sword fight while having dinner. I like eating in peaceful environments.

    No, I would never volunteer to be a human bowling ball as I value my safety and health too highly to be tempted to become anyone’s bowling ball. One wonders why an intern would not have anticipated being injured… DUH.


    • September 14, 2012 12:31 PM

      Ha! Thanks very much, TT. Must confess, I do a lot of eye rolling myself as I work on these sketches… : )

      I, too, prefer dining in peaceful surroundings. I think even a minstrel strumming away would be a distraction. I like to give my full attention to my gourmet franks and beans… : P

      These reckless young interns–! They lack our wisdom and maturity. OK, they lack your wisdom and maturity… : )

      Thanks as always for your kind support!


  9. September 13, 2012 10:08 AM

    Love your jury fools – uh, I meant jury pools. Great stuff.


  10. September 14, 2012 7:44 PM

    It’s a wonderful illustration Mark. And it’s really funny.


    • September 18, 2012 7:52 AM

      That’s the kind of lovely comment that makes me bang my gavel and cry: “Comment sustained!!”

      Thank you very much indeed! : )


  11. September 15, 2012 3:13 PM

    Oh Mark these are all so much fun! I especially like the one about the intern who agreed to be a human bowling ball. LOL! And for free!! I think it will look good on his resume though. Especially if he wins the case!

    And I just love the smoke coming out of that dragon. You just know it’s going to leave a stain.And the vindictive look on his face is inspirational!

    I have to wonder, Mark, when you were growing up if you ever thought you would be drawing dragons with vindictive looks on their faces for a living? Did you always aspire to be a cartoonist? Tell us more about the Mysterious Markie MacGiggles! Inquiring minds want to know!


    • September 18, 2012 8:31 AM

      Oh, what a lovely comment! It’s making me light-headed. I really must lie down. And I will– right after my nap… : P

      I think I would have accepted the human bowling bowl gig. That way, when people found me in the gutter, I’d have a good excuse… : P

      Funny– I can remember drawing dragons with vindictive looks on their faces back when I was in school. Unfortunately, the dragons always seemed to resemble my teachers, which is why I got to stay after school so often. But it did have a plus side: it gave me the chance to draw more dragons… : P

      I worshipped Dick Tracy when I was a kid, and used to draw him and all the villains. But it never occurred to me that one could be an artist as a career. There wasn’t anyone like that in our family, or in our little town. I took a lot of wrong turns, then decided to try freelancing when I was 40 years old. I was too dumb to realize how hard it would be, which just goes to prove that stupidity has its advantages. The End.

      Oh wait, that’s not the end, my glory days are still ahead!! Thanks as ever, Linda, for your rollicking support!! : )


  12. September 20, 2012 4:53 AM

    I did enjoy these cartoons Mark! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • September 20, 2012 9:56 PM

      Delighted to hear it, Mikk.

      I sincerely appreciate your support, thanks so much for stopping by! : )


  13. Margie permalink
    September 28, 2012 10:56 AM

    I love these court case posts. The scenarios lend themselves so well to cartoons!


    • September 29, 2012 11:49 AM

      Right you are, Margie– some of them practically draw themselves… : )

      Very glad you enjoy them, many thanks for your kind comment!


  14. September 29, 2012 8:38 PM

    I love the naked one for the most! That’s really funny! hahahahhhhahahhaaa


    • September 30, 2012 10:37 PM

      Well, Inge, I try to get down to the bare essentials, you see… : P

      Thanks for your lovely comment, wonderful to hear your laugh ringing across the Pond from Liverpool!! : )


  15. October 21, 2012 11:56 AM

    Hilarious ! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the Avengers one especially. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • October 21, 2012 2:39 PM

      Thank you, dear Vandhana! It’s nice to see someone taking a serious interest in the finer points of law… : P

      It’s not every day I get to squeeze The Incredible Hulk into a witness box. I’ve always identified with him because he’s so articulate… : P

      Always nice to see you, thanks so much for stopping by! : )


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